ETN revisits the news, people and products that were making headlines in the month of May five, ten, 20 and 30 years ago.


In May 2015, ETN reported:

  • Breyer began work on a scale model of Valegro. The dressage wonder horse and Charlotte Dujardin had won the FEI World Cup title in Las Vegas the previous month, making them hotly tipped to retain their Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 
  • Piaffing donkeys and endless bling were on show at Equitana, the show held in Germany every other year. “Thousands of people packed the stands and aisles with more Brits visiting this time,” reported ETN. 
  • A study linking fibrous equine diets with horse behaviour was published in a scientific journal. The research work behind it was conducted at Edinburgh University, and commissioned by Dengie.
  • Equestrian retailers were urged to switch to e-receipts instead of paper which “get lost at the bottom of handbags and do nothing to enhance a store’s brand,” according to e-commerce experts Citrus-Lime. 
  • BETA International organisers announced that the 2016 trade show would be moved forward a month, from its traditional February date to January. 


In May 2010, ETN reported: 

  • Puffa licensee TSC Leisure went into administration, leaving the manufacturing and distribution rights to the famous equestrian clothing brand up for sale. 
  • Dodson & Horrell became official equine nutrition supplier to Equestrian Team GBR ahead of the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
  • Wormer resistance, and the potential loss of effective drugs, was acknowledged as an emerging threat to equine health. 
  • ETN visited the BB Stanley Brothers brass foundry in Walsall which had been acquired by Abbey Saddlery [now Abbey England] in 2009. 
  • British Dressage re-arranged the dates of its National Championships to avoid clashing with Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK.
  • Dressage Deluxe was offering its mail order customers a free text message service to update them on the progress of their shopping deliveries – and that was considered newsworthy.


In May 2000, ETN reported: 

  • The owners of Hampshire based Petersfield Saddlery and Petworth Saddlery found themselves in the High Court having gone into receivership with debts of £1 million. 
  • Top eventers were attracting sponsors. Mark Todd signed a “substantial” five-figure deal with the just-launched equestrian website Kickon. And Ian Stark shook hands with Michael Vant, owner of wholesaler Westgate, to endorse Elite riding boots. 
  • Claire Williams had joined BETA (the British Equestrian Trade Association) the previous month. Born and raised in New Zealand, she had been working for a sheepskin supplier in research and marketing roles. ETN reported that Claire [now BETA’s executive director] was a fluent German speaker and keen rider. 
  • Airowear and KC Equestrian [owner of the Rodney Powell brand] became the first body protector manufacturers to produce garments to the revised BETA 2000 standard incorporating the European standard (EN13158:2000)
  • A best-selling product was the range of LenRys supplements. Promoted as ‘based on all-natural Chinese herbal formulas’, the active ingredients were baked into biscuits for hand-feeding and displayed in attractive counter-top boxes. 


In May 1990, ETN reported:

  • John Whitaker signed a contract with Jabez Cliff to produce a range of saddles and bridles named after his top horse, Milton. 
  • An unofficial working party of body protector manufacturers met under the auspices of BETA to talk about “a means of measuring these garments that riders will understand.” A ‘tog’ system, rather like that used for duvets, was being considered. 
  • Retail workers aged 21 and over were to be paid at least £2.69 per hour for up to 39 hours a week, and overtime of £4.04 per hour, in new rates set by the Office of Wages Council. 
  • Peter Hay, of the Bridle Path tackshop in Bury St Edmunds, came to the rescue when his local riding school lost all its tack to thieves. Peter’s loan of second-hand saddlery enabled Maytree Riding Stables to stay in business. The only items he couldn’t replace were three Western saddles favoured by clients from the nearby American air base. 
  • In-demand products in May 1990 were rugs insulated with heat reflective Flectalon, the first synthetic tree from traditional tree-makers Beebee and Beebee, webbing Trekking bridles by Loveson, seaweed infused wound dressings from Hoechst Animal Health – and a mole trap, complete with a free booklet of tips for catching fury pests. 

‘Turn back the pages’ appears in each monthly issue of ETN. 

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